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Digital Historical Research on Southeast Europe and the Ottoman Space

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Edited By Dino Mujadzevic

As digital humanities in recent years have been taking roots in major international research centers, this edited volume consisting of ten papers including the introduction seeks to examine the current state of the digital/data-driven research in history and neighboring disciplines dealing with Southeast Europe as well as with the Ottoman Empire and to give an interdisciplinary impetus by bringing together international scholars working with various digital approaches. The included papers give a broad introduction into the field and follow various methods of digital analysis and visualization incorporating approaches like corpus-assisted critical discourse analysis,GIS (Geographic Information Systems), agent-based modelling, computationalstatistics etc.

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Historical GIS

Mapping the Nineteenth-Century Mediterranean Port-City: The Quay of Salonica, 1870-1912

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Sotirios Dimitriadis

Developments in data-research, and their applications in the realm of humanities, promise to fully overhaul the way historians conduct their research. From data sampling and processing to geo-spatial imaging, scholars acquire access to powerful tools that may revolutionize the relationship between the historian, their material and the public. My doctoral dissertation on the transformation of nineteenth-century Salonica into a typical fin-de-siècle Mediterranean port-city was heavily informed by the “spatial turn” of contemporary historiography. Though inspired by recent scholarly works, such as Jens Hanssen’s book on Beirut, and Sibel Zandi-Sayek’s work on Izmir, I nonetheless noticed the difficulty in obtaining enough data to perform both quantitative and qualitative observations. In my own research, I made extensive use of a unique source: the cadastral registries of Salonica and its environs that were compiled by local Ottoman authorities between the mid-1870s and 1911. The registries, kept today in the Historical Archive of Macedonia, give a thorough account of property ownership, uses of space, and real-estate values in Salonica in the final years of Ottoman rule in the region. Employing contemporary data-sampling and imaging techniques on this material provides us with the possibility of completely mapping a Mediterranean city over a forty-year period: neighborhood by neighborhood, block by block, individual property by individual property. For the purpose of this proposal, I intend to use that archive, organize its contents through the use of an open-source geographical information system (QGIS), and juxtapose them with available maps of Late Ottoman Salonica...

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